Milby HS students walk new hallways for the first time

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Footsteps echoed throughout the hallways of the new Milby High School as students flowed into the building on Monday for the first day of the 2017-2018 school year.

Principal Roy de la Garza said he and his staff were excited to spend the first day in the school after so much time away. For the past three years, Milby High School students and staff have been temporarily located at the old Jones campus to allow for construction of their new school, which was part of the 2012 Bond.

“It’s so much nicer to be back in the neighborhood,” de la Garza said, admitting that he was overcome with emotion after walking the building on the first day and seeing his students in their new classrooms for the first time. “It’s so good to have them here.”

The $79 million project features two new academic wings that house science and engineering labs, and CTE spaces for welding, cosmetology, printing, and culinary arts. Other highlights include a new secure main entrance with new administrative offices, an auditorium with a black box theater, a large dining commons area, a huge outdoor courtyard, and new gymnasium, dance room and locker rooms.

The campus also features state-of-the-art technology integrated into the new facility.

The first day of school initially was planned for Monday, Aug. 28, but that start date was delayed as a result of damages and flooding sustained from Hurricane Harvey. Most HISD schools — including Milby — opened on Sept. 11, but some were further delayed or even relocated to temporary campuses as crews worked to repair buildings that sustained the most significant damage during the storm.

On Monday, freshman Jason Olivares peered around the commons area in amazement. He said he was particularly drawn to the architectural design of the new building.

“I am so excited and really happy to be here,” he said.

Milby is among eight new and renovated schools that opened for this first time this fall as part of the 2012 Bond Program. Bond construction is underway at more than two dozen campuses in HISD, with almost 50 percent of all bond projects now completed and open to students. Once all work is complete, HISD will boast of one of the most modern portfolios of urban high schools in the country.